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49ers coaching search: Where do we stand heading into weekend No. 2?

The 49ers have finished their interviews, at least from the list that has leaked to the public. Time to figure out what's next by attempting to answer a few questions.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers head into the weekend having wrapped up the last of the known interview schedule. They interviewed Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Thursday, and then Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Friday. That marks eight interviews over the last 11 days. The interview schedule went as follows:

Vic Fangio - December 30
Dan Quinn - December 30
Mike Shanahan - January 1
Adam Gase - January 2
Josh McDaniels - January 3
Rex Ryan - January 4
Teryl Austin - January 8
Todd Bowles - January 9

There are plenty of questions still remaining as we wait and see what the next step is in this process.

Why isn't Jim Tomsula on the list?

Your guess is as good as mine. Tomsula entered the process rumored to be the favorite. Could it be the media was wrong? Be still my beating heart!

But seriously, one possibility is the backlash to the rumors, coupled with the reaction to the press conference and Jed York's subsequent radio interview might have impacted how he viewed Tomsula. Jason Cole reported last week that York was looking to make a splash and that is when the Mike Shanahan to the 49ers really took off. Maybe that's the case, maybe it's just filling airtime, I don't know.

What happened between January 4 and January 8?

The 49ers could have been doing follow-up interviews with earlier candidates, or they could have been doing some talking with college coaches. The college football season wraps up on Monday with the national championship game, but most of the rest of the nation finished up their bowl games the previous few days. Maybe the 49ers were waiting for one or more of the college coaches playing in those bowls?

Gus Malzahn hopped on the radar, but that was a single rumor, and nothing has really developed from there. But it is entirely possible the 49ers have talked with one or more college coaches. Or there is some other mystery interview we do not know about. I would be surprised by that, but I suppose nothing should surprise us in this process.

So who will it be?

Right now I really do think Vic Fangio is the favorite. He has the respect of the team, with NaVorro Bowman and others stating they want to see him back. He has extensive coordinator experience, and while he does not have head coach experience, he has had a chance to work with a lot of capable head coaches. One of his first head coaches suggested he already has the knowledge base needed to handle a lot of the issues a head coach might deal with. And most importantly, there would be a sense of continuity with a defense that was great for extensive stretches, even as they dealt with numerous injuries.

If it not Fangio, Mike Shanahan would not surprise me. It gives York that big name hire, and the connection within the franchise history. Things ended poorly in his last stop, but given the way Washington has devolved into a league-wide joke, maybe the 49ers provide a better situation. The downside to this situation is that Shanahan is not a guy who would be around for ten years like York envisioned in the day-after press conference. Additionally, at what point does he want more power than the 49ers are willing to give? Maybe that never happens, but it has to be on our radar.

When will we know?

If the 49ers are still looking at one of the current playoff coaches, this could take a while. But if they are going to pick from this current group, I could see an official announcement by Tuesday or Wednesday. If that is the case, I would not be shocked to hear some leaks over the weekend. I would actually hope there are not leaks, but who knows what to expect. This group has kept things relatively quiet, but we've heard the occasional bit of chatter. For now, I'll say the 49ers make it official on Tuesday, but I'm sure I'll end up wrong.